Day 1: Cedar Rapids, IA to Chattanooga, TN
It all started on Friday morning, February 14th. I didn't pack a whole lot of things because it was below freezing this night, so I waited to pack the majority of my things the morning I left. I was excited to go to Florida for a week and see my family. I had a pretty ambitious agenda lined up, too, I must say. The morning I left it was starting to snow, and then snow more ... and as I got about 60 miles east of Cedar Rapids, the snow just kept coming down - more and more. At this point, only one of three east bound lanes was passable. We're all driving along at 25-35 mph for 2.5 hrs. During this 100 miles stretch of interstate, I passed 52 accidents! There was much prayer being said that day. Once I got about half way down the state of Illinois, things started to clear up and it was pretty much smooth sailing from there. On to Chattanooga, TN for some sweet rehearsal with Robin Burk, who I will mention in a moment...
So, I finally arrive in Chattanooga, have some awesome dinner (Thank you, Lyn!), and then it's off to make some sweet musical jammage with Robin Burk, who specializes in therapeutic music featuring Native & World Flutes, but is becoming more renowned for her use of Handpans. Robin Burk's Website: http://robinburk.com
After jamming and writing music til 3am, waking up at 7am to hit the road was the last thing I wanted to do. Luckily, a hot cup of coffee and breakfast burrito awaited me (Thank you again, Lyn!). Out the door I flew, on the road and weather is perfect for driving ... much better for napping, but I can't do that at the same time! I rolled into Marianna, FL at 2pm and went straight into the recording studio with Kirk Thompson, who was the engineer on many of my previous works (Transitions, Cross Roads, Turn The Page, Breeze at 72 Degrees and Rhythm Of The Rain Horse). He knows my style, what I like, where to push me - a great working relationship. I was more prepared than I thought, knocking out 6 songs in a short amount of time. I even have an entire piece played on a Desert (Mojave) Rim Blown flute from Jon Norris! 11pm rolled around and I was ready to go home to my parent's place. This place will forever be "home" to me, it's where I grew up and made many fond memories.
"Your beautiful flute music was exactly what we needed at this given time. We've been so sad and lost. But you've come and shown us peace."
Waking up groggy again. It feels good to be "home". I hear coffee percolating in the pot as the smell of biscuits and gravy fill the air. Mmm. I have a concert planned at 4pm, which means I need to be there at 2:30pm. Meanwhile, I need to work on these last two songs so I can finish recording Moonsongs while I'm down in Florida! I work on these two new songs (Persia & Watercolors (working titles)) until about 2pm, then quickly gather my things and buzz out the door.
I played in a quaint, historic church in Downtown Marianna, FL, the picture to the right is an actual picture - old hardwood pews, stained glass windows and great acoustics. I was in heaven! Well, almost. The concert flowed very nicely and it was great to see some familiar faces in the crowd - afterwards was a meet & greet where I was able to speak with some of the audience members. It turns out that a month prior to my performing, they had suddenly lost their pastor. The church was wounded and hurting from this loss. One lady said, "Your beautiful flute music was exactly what we needed at this given time. We've been so sad and lost. But you've come and shown us peace." This, ladies and gentlemen, is what it's all about. Healing people's hearts. It's a beautiful feeling to know that you have the ability to do something like that. I'm so very blessed and thankful that I've been chosen to do this.
After the reception, there was a small party at my parents place. It was the last night I was in town - my trip was way too short. I sat and chatted with folks for a while, but had to get back to the studio to record those last two songs. 9:30pm-midnight was spent in the studio tracking the last two songs for Moonsongs (releasing April 2014, stay tuned!).
Alright, late to bed and early to rise ... again. This is a trend that I'm not fond of. Gotta get myself down to Leesburg, FL for a bunch of stuff. This time it's a little laid back. It starts off with a photo shoot with my favorite personal photographer, Myron Leggett, award winning photographer. See all the banners and such on my website and facebook lately? That's the work of Myron Leggett. Boy, he makes me look good. We talk a bit about marketing and brainstorm through the photo session and leave no time to just chill. We grab a coffee and out the door to the workshop with the Riverwind Flute Circle. Wow, what an active group of flute enthusiasts! I just love visiting and sharing my ideas and inspirations with them. Such a bright and supportive group! If I had a flute circle, I would want them to be it! Lovely thanks to Deb for hosting all of us that night! You guys were absolutely amazing!
Myron Leggett Studios: http://www.myronleggett.com
Riverwind Flute Circle: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RiverwingFlutes/
Ah, another day to drive 6 hours and rehearse more with Robin Burk. At this point, we're preparing to hit the studio the next morning. We've got some serious ground to cover - literally speaking. Robin and I are collaborating on an album called, "Fields Of Harmony". Those of you that are familiar with the Elemental Relaxation Series know that "Winds Of Change" was the element of air and consisted of solo flute music. "Fields Of Harmony" is the element of earth and will consist of Native American-style flutes, World flutes, Handpan, Tibetan Singing Bowl and deep keyboard pads. More info, pictures and sound samples can be found here: Crowd Funding Moonsongs & Fields Of Harmony
Btw, the colored markers are how I write songs, I introduced Robin to this idea. You can see how we used them below.
There's no way we could have finished all that tracking in one day! There's just so many good, juicy musical moments to soak up! So, I decide to extend my stay in Atlanta for one more night and head back into the studio with Robin, and Nev Walker, our engineer.
I can tell you now that I made the right decision! We finished the Rainforest movement on this day, and little did I know, later that night I'd be encountering a rainforest of my own.
So I hit the road about 4pm EST and drive north getting caught in the beginning of rush hour traffic as I'm almost out of Atlanta. A few rain showers, road construction, gps issues, a fuel/restroom/coffee stop - we'll chalk this up as normal traveling with JL. Anyways, It's starting to get dark, I've finally made it to Chattanooga, TN, headed for Nashville in hopes of getting in the other side so traffic wouldn't be an issue the following morning. I'm dog tired by this point, it's just been a long week, then to be performing and listening back to this very meditative music - wow, I need some serious coffee and some dynamite pop music. Bring on Maroon 5 and PINK! Yes!
I like to make phone calls while I travel - it helps me stay alert and the miles just continue to roll back. I was on the phone with my mom when I started to get close to Nashville. I said, "Mom, this is so cool, lightning is traveling like 30 miles across the sky and then I'm watching is simultaneously hit the taller buildings in the skyline!" She proceeded to tell me about something off topic. It had been windy all day, and mind you I'm driving a Chevy Sonic ... otherwise known as my Brave Little Toaster. I recently traded my huge Silverado for this tiny car, but my fuel economy doubled! So, I noticed the wind picking up a little bit. I was in the process of switching interstates and letting my mom off the phone when "WHAM!" My mom said, "What was THAT!?". I said, "It's was a wall of water - it was a wave! ... I have to go, bye!" It was indeed a wall of water. A wall of water traveling 80 mph. It knocked me into the next lane and traffic was nearly at a stand still. I had never encountered straight line winds this fierce before! Thankfully, they passed quickly and the traffic flow opened up again. On to Paducah, KY where I stayed the night.
Back to Iowa I go! Leaving Paducak, KY in the early to mid morning so I can catch my did in Cedar Rapids, IA at 6pm. I've had a gigs lined up for Friday night, Satruday afternoon and Sunday morning. Whew. Finally able to catch up ... maybe. Back to the grind - it's been a fund trip and I've gotten more work done than I thought I could ever do in one short week. Wow. Bring on the residual work - we've got music to make and distribute to folks! Whoever said being an independent musician was easy, apparently was not an independent music. It's hard work, but work of the passionate. And I am that passionate worker. I love what I do.
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